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Beyond the Lone Islands

Thursday, 1 July 2010

BTT: Disappointment

Name a book or author that you truly wanted to love but left you disappointed. (And, of course, explain why.)

Oh, this is a challenging question. The first answer that comes to mind for me is the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman. I already gave my reasons in a book review six months ago. Oddly enough, I was reminded of it just yesterday (i.e. before I read this question) because of a trailer for The Golden Compass movie on TV. I read the books because over the years, I have found some other fantasy worlds, like Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien), Narnia (C.S. Lewis) and Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling) to challenge me, encourage and inspire me. But Pullman's books pretty much just managed to depress me. After the second book I doubted I'd ever get round to reading the last one. Then I saw the film based on the first book, and found that I liked that better. Analyzing, my conclusion is that the film focuses on the visual images, tones down the overt criticism of Church/ Christianity in the books and leaves more things open to interpretation. I have difficulties with Pullman's approach in the books, not just because he takes this critical view of the church, but also because in my opinion he fails to make full use of fantasy as medium. It's like he can't even be bothered to make up his own images or parallells of some things. After finishing the last book, I was still left with that impression. Neither the background worlds nor the characters convince me; and I never get properly drawn into the story. I only finished it because I wanted to try to understand what other people saw in it.


aLmYbNeNr said...

Seriously? I enjoyed those books but it's been awhile since I read them. I do remember feeling a bit unfulfilled, maybe, at how things turn out at the very end...I'll have to do a re-read at some point. :)
Here is my Booking Through Thursday.

Anonymous said...

I disliked Dark Materials. But that's mostly, I think because the daemons bothered me. I dislike talking animals in my books.

Here's my BTT

jlshall said...

Haven't read any of the Dark Materials books yet. I know they're very popular, but I tend to like my fantasy to be a little more whimsical and not so dark.

My BTT: Disappointment

Ginny said...

Yes, I remember reading Lord Of The Rings and loving it! Funny you should ask this question. I love Max Lucado, and got his new book Fearless. Thought it would be good to help me overcome some fears. So far I am dissapointed and haven't learned a thing I didn't already know. So here it still sits, partially read beside the couch.

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough Phillip Pullman is an author I have wanted to try for a long time, as a fantasy lover of those like Anne McCaffery and all things Xanth I still think I might give him a go but would rather start at the beginning with Northern Lights even tho I have seen the Golden Compass.

Yvonne said...

I never read any of those books. Good answer.

GB said...

As you know I'm not a great lover of fantasy fiction in general although I read and admired and enjoyed The Lord of The Rings in the very early 1970s. More recently I was fascinated by Anne McCaffery's Ship books. I think that His Dark Materials is one of the most engrossing series of books I have ever read. It's a funny old world.

DawnTreader said...

I never heard of Anne McCafferey who is mentioned in two of the comments here (and not as disappointment) - I shall have to check her out ;)

GB I remember since before that you were impressed by His Dark Materials... I guess it also often matters at what point in our own lives and experiences that we come across a certain book, if it "speaks" to us or not.


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